I want to be a certain kind of female scientist. My world can’t stand this. I can’t be what I am and it’s tearing me apart. My life is so hopelessly fragmented and compartmentalized, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I can say things to people at work that no one else will care about. I can say things to friends who know I’m a woman and others who think I’m a man. My story is shattered like so much glass, the mirrors I would break if I wasn’t superstitious.
I’m writing and emptying my mind of my emotions, my memories, my work. If you could see inside it’d look like I’m moving, and outside it’s a yard sale – free manuscripts, a box of knickknacks filled with awkward memories. And will someone please take these physics theories off of my hands, I’ll deliver them anywhere. Just someone please take them.
There are unruly mobs of children on field trips outside of my office space, squeaking the floors, banging on the walls, making all kinds of noise – and the chaperones constantly shushing them. The scenes of rioting schoolchildren from Sid and Nancy come to mind. I want to go out there and tell them all to shut up, but I never do. I’m just reminded of when I was bullied in school, every day, constantly. So I turn up my headphones and wait for them to pass.
I was bullied because I was a misgendered girl in the anarchic world of public school children. The bullying stopped in high school but I continued to feel that I was working against something, running away from something, that I needed to justify my own existence.
I’m slowly realizing how my female gender has permeated my life. I’ve always been female and it is what it is, whether I like it or not. Even though I embodied the male gender, people could tell. They definitely didn’t think, “Oh, he’s a female in a male’s body.” But they knew I was an outsider.
There’s an upside to this. I can become more or less feminine but it doesn’t make me any more or less female. Maybe this is the key to this whole thing. I could take hormones to become more comfortable in my body and I could change my appearance so that social cues match my gender, but these things won’t make me any more or less of a woman. Nothing will. I was born female and will die female. Nothing can change that.